Minister Shatter publishes General Scheme of the Court of Appeal Bill

-   Ken Gaughran

The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter, TD, has today secured Government approval for the drafting of the Court of Appeal Bill 2014 and for the publication of the General Scheme of that Bill. The purpose of the Bill is to make the necessary legislative provision for the establishment of the Court of Appeal following on from the successful Referendum result of October 2013 which was passed by 65.2% of voters. The establishment of such a Court was one of the key commitments in the Programme for Government.

The Government has also named The Hon. Mr. Justice Seán Ryan as President Designate of the proposed Court of Appeal. Arrangements will be made to formally nominate Mr. Justice Ryan for appointment to the post by the President, once the necessary legislation establishing the Court has been enacted.

Speaking after the Government meeting, Minister Shatter stated that, “Publication of this Scheme marks a very important step along the road to the ultimate establishment of a new Court of Appeal and the modernisation of our courts. I am committed to ensuring that the new Court will be up and running by October of this year and the fact that the formal drafting of the Bill has now been initiated brings us closer to achieving that objective. I am also pleased that Mr Justice Seán Ryan has been named as President Designate of the new Court. He is a very experienced judge having been a High Court judge since 2003. He chaired the Child Abuse Commission whose published report was hailed as “a work of incalculable value to this country” and he also chaired the Expert Group to examine options for the implementation on the European Court of Human Rights judgment in A, B and C v Ireland.”

The Minister continued, “The arguments in favour of the establishment of a Court of Appeal are undeniable. The absence of such a Court has led to a huge volume of cases being referred to the Supreme Court compared with other similar common law jurisdictions. In consequence, the caseload of the Supreme Court has become increasingly difficult to sustain and, to my mind, the average waiting time for cases to come before that Court is indefensible. This has an obvious impact on individual litigants. It also has economic implications in that a modern, trading economy needs an efficient and streamlined courts system if Ireland is to be to the forefront when it comes to attracting international investment.”

The Minister noted that the Bill itself was largely technical in nature. However, he stated, “While many of the Bill’s provisions are directed towards the amendment of individual Acts, many of them courts- related, this work of amendment is essential in terms of building the scaffolding which will ensure that the new Court of Appeal can operate to maximum efficiency within the existing system. I am confident that its establishment will improve access to justice and I look forward to the speedy enactment of the necessary legislation by the Houses of the Oireachtas.

A link to the General Scheme of the Court of Appeal Bill 2014 is available here:
http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/PB14000046

25 February, 2014  

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